T.J. Osborne, one-half of the platinum-selling country hit-makers, Brothers Osborne, has revealed he’s gay. In a new interview with Time, the 36-year-old said he’s known he was gay since he was young and that he has been out to friends and family for years.
“I’m very comfortable being gay. I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don’t have a problem with. That feels so strange,” T.J. says. “I want to get to the height of my career being completely who I am. I mean, I am who I am, but I’ve kept a part of me muted, and it’s been stifling.”
He describes being closeted as painful, lonely and isolating, but, after some introspective moments that occurred as a result of months spent in lockdown, he felt that now was time to share the news with the world.
“People will ask, ‘Why does this even need to be talked about?’ and personally, I agree with that. But for me to show up at an awards show with a man would be jaw-dropping to people. It wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, cool!’”
Although, he was unsure how the news of his sexuality would be perceived by the country music industry and its fans, he notes that he may be giving his supporters too little credit. He adds, “I don’t think I’m going to get run off the stage in Chicago, but in a rural town playing a county fair? I’m curious how this will go.”
He hopes, however, that coming out might open the door to more gay country music fans.
Since the announcement on February 3, fans and members of the LGBTQ+ community have shown their support. Additionally, fellow country music artists Kacey Musgraves, Carly Pearce, Dierks Bentley, Tenille Townes, Maren Morris and others have taken to their social media pages with an outpour of love and praise.
His older brother John shared a video on Instagram saying, “He’s taking one of the most important steps of his entire life and he’s doing it in front of the entire world. He’ll always have my support. No matter what, he will continue to have my support. It’s an honour to call him my brother.”
John also revealed that T.J. came out to him in his 20s, saying “He was very open and candid about it, and I was emotional, because my brother was finally able to be completely honest with me about who he was.”
T.J. joins a growing roster of queer artists in the country music industry, including names like Lil Nas X, Brandi Carlile, Billy Gilman, Brandy Clark, and many others. And, by coming out publicly, he becomes one of very few openly gay country artists to be signed to a major label (EMI Nashville).
Brothers Osborne have always been unafraid to speak their minds and to push the envelope. The music video for their 2016 hit single, Stay a Little Longer features gay and interracial couples. While the response was largely positive, T.J. reveals that “there were people who were like, ‘F—-t lovers!’”
The American duo have released three studio albums to date, and seven country top 40 singles. They have won four CMA Awards, two ACM Awards and been nominated for seven Grammys.
Keep up to date with Brothers Osborne on their Facebook page here.
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